Lying in a crater and suffering chest and leg wounds from the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast in Ukraine, Serhiy—a lone Ukrainian soldier—wasn't sure whether to rejoice or crawl for cover when a drone hovered over him.
Separated from his army unit and "too close to the Russians," Serhiy's paranoia was certainly understandable.
Manned aircraft, ships, and other military vehicles usually carry some markings that identify which side they're on. The tiny drones used on the battlefields during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, may as well be invisible, as it is near impossible to visually confirm whether they are comrade or enemy, merely watching your movements, or are about to drop a bomb at your position.
For Serhiy, it was "a lottery."
After some tense moments, the drone flew away, returning with water, medicine, and a note.
The drone was on Serhiy's side, after all.
Even better, combat medics were able to reach Serhiy's location in two days and evacuate him to a hospital, where he was treated for a pierced lung and leg wounds.
For Eugene—a drone pilot with the 15th national guard brigade—finding Serhiy crawling in a bombed out fissure points to how drones may be able to prevent other wounded soldiers and personnel from facing life-threatening hardships without food, water, medicine or hope—even in dangerous situations.